Recent entries

    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #9651 Copy

    Phantine

    "There are four individuals," VenDell said, "who, to our knowledge, have held the power of Ascension. Rashek, the Survivor, the Ascendant Warrior, and Lord Harmony Himself.

    [Brandon], I noticed the list doesn't include 'Terr'. Anything interesting about how modern kandra see Terr/Leras?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good catch. There are things to be inferred from this.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
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    amilynn

    Are there any black people in Scadrial? Or any other races? I couldn't find an answer online, but the descriptions in the book all seem like white/European people.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Terris had a lot more skin color diversity than the people of the central dominance. A large number of those preserved had darker skin, so in the W&W era, you are starting to see skin color become associated with them. During the Final Empire, skin color was basically ignored.

    Note that for even people in the Elendel Basin, darker skin won't get nearly as dark as what you will find on Roshar or Taldain.

    EDIT: Now that I'm on my computer instead of my tablet, I can dig into this a little more. What other posters have been saying is true--the region of the Final Empire we see in the first trilogy is very small, and the Final Empire itself isn't terribly big. There's not a lot of racial diversity at all.

    That said, the Terris are a distinct ethnic group. I carefully didn't describe people in the original books with regard to a lot of racially identifying features. One of the Lord Ruler's goals over the years was to stamp these things out, to create a single unified people. While he couldn't change genetics, his work here did make people start to look at things like class and clothing more than accents or racial identifiers. In addition, it was important that the Terris be diverse enough that, while some looked Terris from just a glance, with others, you could meet them and (for obvious reasons that are spoilers) not know they were actually Terris.

    That isn't to say they aren't there--they actually are. Elend and Straff would have a bit of an accent, and Cett a fairly strong one. Sazed would look racially distinct from Vin.

    As we get further from the Final Empire, we see these things becoming more of a marker. The Terris work to preserve their cultural heritage, and this distinctiveness highlights other aspects about them, including the dark skin that many of them brought through the end of the world. The next trilogy (1980's era) is planned to star a Terriswoman right now, and she would likely resemble someone ethnically black to many of us on Earth.

    sirgog

    How far off your impression of Sazed was I in imagining him looking like Teferi from MTG?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I often give him a Teferi-like-look in my own head, but in actuality his skin tone is probably more akin to someone like Keegan-Michael Key.

    Phantine

    >While he couldn't change genetics, his work here did make people start to look at things like class and clothing more than accents or racial identifiers.

    How did the 'skaa/noble' class genetic tinkering work out, anyway? Did the leadership of every nation just wake up the next morning and find themselves taller, more intelligent, and less fertile?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Most genetic differences between skaa and noble were exaggerated, even fabricated, by noble culture as justification for their perceived superiority. Height differences due to nutrition, 'intelligence' due to education and societal expectations, fertility due to common factors in urbanization. The LR did try some minor tinkering, to be played out over time through genetics, but in the end these changes weren't very successful.

    emailanimal

    This is actually good to know. I've seen your other responses to similar questions, where the inference was that there was indeed a significant difference.

    The main changes were for dealing with the atmosphere, correct? And they were reverted by Sazed/Harmony?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There were also some general hardiness changes for the skaa and some fertility changes, but as I said, by the time of the books those were basically gone. And yes, Sazed reverted the ones designed to help survival in the ash.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
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    FirstRyder

    Who would win in a game of chance: Mat, a chromium compounder, or Hoid?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In these kinds of questions, more and more I give "points" to the character with the most established narrative, set of powers, and momentum. So Mat wins hands down. In twenty years, maybe not. But right now Mat.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
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    ThePsion5

    I always wondered what would happen if someone burning atium fought a ta'veren like Matrim Cauthon. Would it look like he was burning atium as well? Would his atium shadow be concealed by a haze of probability?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'd say that Mat's aura would interfere with atium, but you could easily rule the other way--you could say atium works something like Min's visions of the future, letting one "read the Pattern" so to speak. And Min's visions do work on ta'veren.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #9659 Copy

    Phantine

    By the way, if "Awakeners" were something different back then, what did you call Vasher? Or was he just "some guy from another world, I'll explain his magic later".

    Brandon Sanderson

    The latter. There are hints he has a mysterious past, but not much more.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
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    Phantine

    By the way, the chapters from Way of Kings Prime were pretty interesting when I read them in the [Altered Perceptions] anthology. I assume the rest of the book at the moment is still pretty spoilery... about where in The Stormlight Archive series would you consider it 'caught up' enough to do something with the rest of WoK'?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Unfortunately, one of the ways I made the series work was by splitting the character into two groupings, and doing half in the first five and half in the second. This means that WoK Prime doesn't spoil anything for Dalinar/Kaladin/Shallan. But it has huge spoilers for books six and seven, with Jasnah and Taln. So it will be a while.

    Tor Twitter Chat ()
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    Gabriel Rumbaut

    How "bad" are your first drafts? Many authors say their first draft of a novel is always terrible.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They're pretty bad. In a first draft, I focus on character arcs and laying down dialogue.

    So the descriptions are sparse, and often they're overly wordy to a huge fault. Drafts streamline.

    Tor Twitter Chat ()
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    Eric Peters

    What exactly is a dueling cane anyhow?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Depends. Some are flexible, like sparring swords, and are used for duels where blood is not needed.

    Others are basically a big length of wood for hitting people, like a tonfa without the grip.

    Eric Peters

    Do canes have a hilt like a sparring sword then? I always picture something like pic being used

    Brandon Sanderson

    Many have a hilt. However for most, there is no crossguard or the like.

    And most don't taper like that one. They are often of a uniform diameter all the way down.

    Tor Twitter Chat ()
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    Thomas Ford

    Do you have plans to continue stories in the Elantris (hope I spelled that right) world?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. I hope to write a sequel for the 10th anniversary of the book's release, which would be 2015.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
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    L0neGamer

    *posting a thread in the "WhoWouldWin" subreddit titled "Randland vs Scadrial"*

    Round 1: Zen Rand (after revelation, before last battle) vs Mist Vin (Feeding on infinite metal sources) - Both at their top tiers, they should, by my estimation, be matched because of the rays of power vs seeing the future.

    Round 2: The armies of Randland vs The armies of Scadrial - Aes Sedai, Asha'man, dragons/cannons, vs koloss, mistings, mistborns.

    Bonus round: The Lord Ruler and his armies have to take on the Dark One, and his armies. How well do they fare?

    Other rounds would be cool if you come up with more.

    EDIT: Since people seem to think that RandLand would stomp, how would Vin and crew, with/without the Lord Ruler, fare if they had full knowledge of Rand's abilities and 6 months to prepare?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think that while Vin in the state you mention might be able to give a good fight to Rand, overall, Randland winds. Channelers are more powerful and versatile than most metalborn. Randland has far better generals; everyone on Scadrial is basically still winging it. I hand this one to Randland, unless Kelsier can pull off some improbable assassinations before the whole thing begins.

    potentscrotem

    Would the time reversing properties of balefire remove the ability [of atium] to see the future?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Boy, this one is a tough call. Mixing cosmologies is tough. If we're IN Randland, then atium would work by reading the pattern--but in the cosmere, it looks into the Spiritual Realm--where all times, locations, and possibilities conflate. Either way, I'd say Balefire could counteract atium--but it would be tricky to use correctly, as you'd basically have to balefire some object that the atium burner was factoring into their plans very soon, tripping them up and catching them unable to adjust to the new futures quickly enough.

    Argent

    Not too long ago you told us atium works in the Cognitive - to quote you in reference to how stronger atium burns, "However, there's a certain breaking point where you kind of crack the whole system, peer straight into the cognitive realm, and kind of have a "It's full of stars" moment."

    Are the two replies still compatible?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I meant Spiritual there. Sorry. I deal with the cognitive so much in the books, and Spiritual so infrequently, I often have a silver/tin moment when my fingers just type the thing I'm used to typing.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
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    bullshque

    I thought the spheres of different denominations were also different sizes.

    _robbiehunt_

    Someone mentioned this, too. Now with a second person it seems to make even more sense. Was it mentioned in the books?

    Garnet and ruby are still right next to each other in value, but with all the other differences... it's probably just enough information to differentiate them.

    Thanks!

    Kabsal

    Huh. I'd always assumed that the glass portion of a sphere was the same size for each gem type, but I can't find solid proof one way or another in the books. It's clear that within a gem type the glass size is constant while gem size grows from chip to mark to broam, but otherwise? I'd have to do a careful reread to try and find any evidence one way or another, and it might not be there at all.

    This seems like the kind of question [Brandon Sanderson] or [Ben McSweeney] can give a definitive answer to: would a diamond chip's glass be the same size as an emerald broam's?

    Ben McSweeney

    [Peter Ahlstrom] ought to know for sure.

    I want to say they're all the same size sphere, with larger or smaller gems? But now I'm blanking on what that sphere size is... like, about the size of a marble? Half-inch or so in diameter?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The spheres are all the same size, about as big around as a man's thumbnail. Only the gems inside the spheres differ in size.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
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    ketsugi

    I'm not terribly fond of puns in fantasy unless the author expects us to believe that the characters are either speaking English or that the language that they are speaking has exactly the same puns.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's neither one. Generally, the authors you're reading are pretending their books are in translation--and are generally providing an appropriate English pun to convey the tone of the scene. It happens in the real world, too. My books are all in English originally. When my translator for the Taiwanese editions, for example, runs across a pun, she often constructs a pun that works in the context in her language. The actual words are different, but the idea of "This character is making a wordplay quip" remains.

    ketsugi

    Thanks for the reply. One of my favourite things about this subreddit is the interaction with authors.How do you extend this to foreign languages within the world, then? For example, Tolkien's various languages, or the Old Tongue in Wheel of Time. Do we assume that the imaginary translator decided not to translate those phrases? If so, why?Made-up example:

    "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," Tom muttered under his breath.

    As, perhaps, opposed to:

    "This is a truly stupendous event," Tom muttered under his breath, in Poppinish.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The idea is that the imaginary translator (who is basically the author) is trying to preserve the proper tone. Any time one of those phrases is written, the author COULD have just written the translated version. Why didn't they? There are a ton of reasons, but the most likely is to preserve the feeling the characters have in interacting with something they don't understand. This extends to which words we choose to translate even from the world. In Stormlight, I use the word 'havah' for a Vorin dress. Yet I call a coat simply a coat. There's a balance between not overloading the reader and providing setting immersion, and also a distinction between an article of clothing that is meaningful culturally and one that is less so. Being able to make these kinds of decisions is like adding a pinch of exotic spice to your broth, making it a unique and savory experience, and is part of what I love about fantasy over other genres.

    Tor Twitter Chat ()
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    Pierre Cadieux

    Did you ever study a martial art yourself? Did studying a foreign language change the way you write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My only martial arts study comes from reading and watching, with the occasional 'one shot' go learn some basics.

    Studying a foreign language was extremely helpful in opening my eyes to other cultures, and my own language.

    Footnote: Brandon learned Korean in college for his LDS mission
    Sources: Twitter, Twitter
    General Reddit 2015 ()
    #9671 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is an interesting topic, and though I saw this early, I wanted to wait to post anything because I prefer to let discussions like this happen without author intervention, at least not immediately.

    I do I like talking about topics like this, though. Humor is such a curiously subjective thing. There are people who just don't get Pratchett, whom I find the funniest thing ever. Conversely, I don't generally like stand up comedians, and actively dislike some of the comedies that people on reddit love. There are people who tell me that my Mat scenes in WoT are the funniest they've read in the series; there are others who consider them absolute duds.

    Humor is more subjective than what we find heroic, tragic, or even beautiful. It also depends a great deal on audience buy-in and mood. This makes comedy one of the trickiest things to do in a book, because some people are just going to hate what you do. My approach has generally been a kind of shotgun blast--I try to include multiple different kinds of humor, stylized to the individual character. That way, if you don't find the humor itself funny, you at least learn what the character finds funny--and learn something about them.

    In Stormlight, my personal favorite is the bridge crew humor, as it is distinctly character driven. Syl's humor is a different flavor, based on innocence mixed with sarcasm. Wit is another style entirely, though I usually only let him really go when he meets someone he dislikes strongly. I have to be careful, as he's one of the few characters I allow to stray into the vulgar, and letting him go too far risks letting such things overshadow the rest of the book.

    Shallan's humor is based upon regency "women sit in a circle and trade witty comments" humor, of which Jane Austen was a master. Much of what the OP said in his post is correct--Shallan's fault is that she over-extends. She uses the humor as a coping mechanism, and to her, it doesn't matter if it's actually funny so long as she's stretching toward something more lighthearted than her terrible past. She tries very hard to prove herself. And she fails. Often.

    However, her type of "wit" is to exemplify what Vorin lighteyed women consider to be amusing or diverting. And there are people who genuinely find that kind of thing to be a blast--though Shallan isn't exactly the best at it yet. (She's not terrible either, mind you. If you don't smile at some of the things she says, it's likely this isn't your type of humor, which is just fine. Hopefully, there will be other things in the books that make you smile.)

    Though, that said, I'd love to read passages from other fantasy novels that people on reddit find to be actually laugh-out-loud funny. I know which ones I personally like, but it would be useful for me to see what you're liking. Feel free to PM them to me or to post them here.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
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    Pandoras_Penny

    During Adolin's exploration of Urithiru (right before he murders Sadeas) he comes across a painting

    A fanciful picture with animals from mythology. He recognized a few from children's stories, like the enormous mink like creature with the mane of hair that burst out around and behind its head. What was it called again?

    Let's answer Adolin's question. Is that a lion. Does this mean that normal animals once inhabited Roshar but became extinct or were forced to adapt after the arrival of Odium or the Highstorms. Or maybe these were artist illustrations from stories brought over to Roshar by worldhoppers? What do you think?

    BruceLazer

    With shardpools being a thing and worldhoppers like Hoid being a thing as well it's entirely possible that people brought stories of the fauna of their world with them when they came to Roshar. After all, we know (via Word of Brandon) that the Horneater lakes are shardpools so they could have knowledge of lions via travelers, seeing them in the pools or some other way (worldsingers?)

    Edit-- just noticed you mentioned worldhoppers. I think that's what it is, but it could also be stories from the original inhabitants if (big if) the original inhabitants came from elsewhere in the Cosmere.

    Edit again -- They might have gone extinct after the arrival of Odium. If the rest of the world was akin to Shinovar prior to Odium then it's entirely possible for their to have been lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!).

    Unless someone asks (or has asked) Brandon then I have no clue.

    [Brandon]can you aid us in our questions?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it seems like you're asking the right ones.

    dangermond

    Can you aid us in getting answers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've done so already, by providing two in-depth discussions of the nature of Roshar. They're called The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance.

    General Reddit 2015 ()
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    GenericMastermindAnt

    Have you currently got a series planned for after the Wax and Wayne books? I really enjoyed the first book, although I do miss the full-on Mistborn / Feruchemists.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The next series I'm planning is what was originally going to be the second Mistborn trilogy (right now I'm just calling it Era Three.) It is a 1980s era spy thriller urban fantasy, and I think it will be awesome.

    alexanderwales

    I have a question that I assume is going to be RAFO, but ... 1980s era spy thriller implies something like a Cold War to me. Does this mean United States: Elendelians :: Russia : Southern Peoples?

    (I'm not sure what the proper demonyms would be.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a pretty big RAFO.

    Tor Twitter Chat ()
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    Patty Goldman

    Is the recipient of the letter in Way of Kings also in Dragonsteel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. (Good question.)

    Patty Goldman

    If so would it be the person that Topaz gets mad at?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO on the second one. I've already given you too much!

    Footnote: The recipient in question is the Dragon named Frost, an inhabitant of Yolen.
    Sources: Twitter, Twitter
    Stormlight Three Update #1 ()
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    PaganButterChurner

    Are you Kaladin? Which character do you most identify as?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not Kaladin, and I'm certainly not Hoid. I'm probably closest in personality to Sazed or old Dalinar, but not really a match for either. Really, every character has some of me in them, but none are me.

    Tor Twitter Chat ()
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    Jennifer Lynch

    Do you have a trick for plowing through writer's block?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. I just write anyway, telling myself I don't have to use what I write. I write it poorly, then try again.

    For me, that gets my brain working. You can't be afraid to 'throw away' what you've done for a day and try again.

    With that in mind, you can have the most random of things happen, knowing you won't keep them. Just to get jump-started.

    Tor Twitter Chat ()
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    justinkjeppesen

    Any suggestions for finding time to write for a full time dad with a full time non-writing job?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on whether or not your day job is creatively draining. If it is writing/programming, etc (more)

    You'll have a much harder time, as those jobs flex the same muscles as novel writing.

    The people I've known who do it tend to get up an hour early, before their brain is worn out, and write then.

    Basically, you'll have to give something up. Television, video games, golf, something. (But not family time.)

    Tor Twitter Chat ()
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    gmreynoldsjr

    What are keys to balance family, writing career?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question. I had to make certain hours of the day "off limits" for writing, so that I didn't feel I was missing out on writing time. I could ALWAYS be working, but that's not good emotionally or for the family.

    Otherwise, I try to make my writing time as effective as possible, so I don't feel that sense of "I didn't get anything done."

    That one makes me unbalanced, as I feel anxious if I haven't gotten some good work done in a day.

    Tor Twitter Chat ()
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    Ashley Moser

    I messaged earlier regarding Alloy of Law appendix narrator, unaware of today's torchat. maybe you can respond in the chat?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven't been telling people the name of the appendix author. It is either Hoid or one of the 17th sharders.

    Footnote: The author of the Ars Arcanum (name of the mentioned appendix) has been revealed as Khriss
    Calamity Austin signing ()
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    Questioner

    What is the thing with Adolin's serial dating? Is it just...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He is bad with relationships, and that's just it. He's a little bit scared of being good at relationships, and so there's some kind of unconscious sabotaging going on. But yeah, he's young and he's bad at relationships.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
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    Questioner

    I can write dialogue, I can write a couple of other things, but I suck at worldbuilding. And that's something I've watched you do online, I love it, it's great, but I cannot describe it. And any time I start I get two to three pages into it and then I just can't do it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Practice. Number one, keep practicing. Less is more. If you can build great dialogue and great characters, you can pick a couple of cool things, just a few, and make everything else like-- try to [write dialogue] anyway. Pick an Earth culture. Changed it a little bit. You would much rather be good at character dialogue than worldbuilding, I can tell you that right now. A great character in a generic world is still a great story. But a weak character in a great world is a weak story. So, don't stress this one too much, it'll get better as you go along. But just try picking one thing that is cool for you, that's different, and make that swap, and try writing a story. Don't stress this one too much.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
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    Questioner

    When Wax changes his weight, is that weight or mass?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He is actually changing his mass, in a weird...It's kind of halfway in between, is really what it is. But it follows the laws of conservation of momentum, so it's not just weight. It's timidly a half step inbetween.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
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    Questioner

    So in The Stormlight Archive, they have the two Surges, and they have a third power effect, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They have kind of effects on each other, like a reverberation. Yes. I wouldn’t call it expressly a third power, I’d call it interactions.

    Questioner

    So, it seems like...you don’t have to confirm anything, but it seems like Kaladin is able to transfer his powers to his men following him…

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Windrunners are known for having lots of squires.

    Questioner

    That's the one I thought was really compelling. And the Skybreakers seem like they’re really good at hunting people down.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’m not going to answer any of those! But good questions!

    Calamity Austin signing ()
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    Questioner

    I would like to know how do you make cultures so vibrant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, dig deep rather than go wide. One or two cultures that play off of each other in an interesting way, where you've considered a lot of the ramifications, are gonna to be better than trying to create thirty different cultures. Try to keep focused on what's going to be important to the characters and the books, and try to spend your worldbuilding there. So like if the characters are going to have conflict over religion, spend time on religion. But if instead they're going to have different linguistics and that's a source of conflict to them, spend time on the linguistics.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
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    Questioner

    What does a mistcloak [mistcoat] look like? What does Wax's miscloak look like?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, so Wax's is a mistcoat. It's a duster that has been shredded into strips. But remember, there’s not like an industry that makes these. Each person commissions their own, and so they all vary quite widely.

    Questioner

    Are they at the waist, or…?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s a little above the waist.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
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    Questioner

    Do we get to find out, what happens, where Calamity comes from?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Eventually, like the next trilogy I do will dig into that... You've gotta remember, in the teen books I’m not going to dig into lore as much, they're written as action novels. So in the next series I'll get you some of your answers, but that's not what the point of these books-- like The Stormlight Archive, the point is the lore. In these books, the point is “have fun”. So. So you will, but it's going to take a little bit longer.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
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    Questioner

    As you were constructing the Allomantic powers revealed in the Wax and Wayne books, I was just curious why you chose cadmium and chromium to be metals.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well I picked them way back when I first designed the magic system, and I wanted metals that were easily recognizable but which wouldn't be commonly available in a medieval society, so that as society progressed it would make sense that they would have access to these new metals, if that makes sense. Aluminum was a little in that as well, but I like aluminum because they had it anciently, but very rarely. So it could be a more mythical metal.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
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    Questioner

    If Hoid was on Scadrial during the original Mistborn trilogy, and had a bead of lerasium, and took it and gained Allomantic powers, could he then go to Roshar during Stormlight and still have those Allomantic powers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes… Most of the magics are not re-- area centric, though a few of them are.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
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    Questioner

    The flakes of metal are catalysts to access the powers of Preservation. What do the birds from Patji use as catalysts?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You don't always have to have the exact same thing for catalyst, for that it’s kind of more of an innate Connection, in the same way that the metals have an innate Connection. They are the catalyst, if that makes sense.

    Calamity Austin signing ()
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    Questioner

    In Words of Radiance, a character named Iyatil... Is she a member of the race that we see in The Bands of Mourning in the--

    Brandon Sanderson

    She is related to them in the same way that I am Danish.

    Questioner

    Okay, so not.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, I am, my heritage is Danish.

    Questioner

    Okay, so a branch of...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mmhmm.